It’s not that I blame Kenny Rogers for the sudden change of heart. Baseball is a business. His agent is paid to get him the best deal possible. And his agent is Scott Boras. So it’s not like you can claim this is an unexpected development.
Whether you can believe what Rogers says, on the other hand, I don’t know. He still says he wants to be in Detroit, according to Jason Beck. But words are just words during negotiations.
Bilfer earlier this week posted an interesting valuation on what Rogers should justifiably be paid, and I have to say, it looks pretty fair at $7M plus incentives for staying healthy. The incentives sounds a little higher than than I personally value, as I’m a little more pessimistic on his ability pitch at the same level he did before, even if he is healthy enough to take the mound.
And then, we hear murmurs of Livan Hernandez. Big L may be best known for pitching an incredibly high amount of innings, pitching into incredibly high pitch counts, and staying healthy, thus being the exception to the rule of workload watching. But what Big L is not known for lately is a lot of success on the mound. As Bilfer again has the first analysis out, I’ll quote my greatest concern.
He’s coming off an age 32 season in which he only struck out 3.96 batters per 9 innings and walked 3.48. He allowed 34 homers last year. Granted, Arizona is an easier place to hit homers with a park factor of 115 (15% easier to hit homers there than an average park), but the other numbers don’t paint a pretty picture. His FIP last year was a replacement level-esque 5.73.
Let’s review: So far, he has managed to stay alive while pitching way too deep and too much. I sense time will catch up to him there. He throws few strikeouts. He had a defense behind him, in the weaker National League, and still managed to stumble. I’m thinking “Is this really the guy I want pitching against Cleveland? New York? Boston? Uhm. No. And that’s even if he was free!
Hernandez pitched for the 1997 Florida Marlins, World Series winners with Edgar Renteria at SS and Gary Sheffield in the outfield and Jim Leyland managing and Dave Dombrowski general managing.
This brings up my biggest complaint about the Tigers.
THIS IS NOT THE 90s!!!!
These men have aged 10 years. While lightning in a bottle may have worked in 97, why should you expect the same results in 2008? This is like the Tigers trading for Neifi Perez. Great. Jim Leyland managed him in Colorado. So what? Why don’t we chase after Barry Bonds while we’re at it? Is Bobby Bonilla still retired?
There is obviously a weak free agent pool for pitching. And the Tigers need at least one starter and probably one or two middle relievers. So you can’t exactly say Dombrowski is looking over a gem when he dips into his memory pool and remembers the 90s and says “Hey, Livan is available!”
But I don’t think he’s really the best answer out there. I remain as concerned for 2008 as I did for 2007. The team is too old with too many risks. The above two pitchers fall into the category of playing russian roulette with injuries. It seems to me likely they’ll end up paying a “big name” pitcher a load of money, and end up starting a minor leaguer due to an injury. May as well cut out the middle man.
You can’t eliminate risk, but I hope Dombrowski can find ways to minimize it.